blocking is a method that may save you money with your household
With the fall weather upon us people are starting to put away the excess bounty of their
garden. Vegetables that
have not already been consumed need to be stored
for the winter months.
Once you have packaged
your vegetables they
will have to be stored in a cold environment that
is below their freezing point and at a low humidity level. A basement cold storage room is the
most economical method. It uses the winter temperatures to keep foods
cold. Unfortunately its downside is that the temperature cannot be
For most people an economical alternative is
a small household chest.
But if you invest in a freezer is it economical to operate it when only partially
full? Freezer blocking is a
possible answer for this problem.
Basically, freezer blocking is filling
up the unused space inside the freezer. The theory is,
the less air inside the freezer the less electricity will be
required to freeze the food. Anything
that lowers the internal volume of the freezer will cause the compressor
to spend less time keeping the interior cold. It would be equivalent to
having a smaller freezer.
do this cardboard boxes, called “blockers”, are placed inside the
freezer. These boxes are filled with insulation. Any form of insulation
will work, but basic household wall insulation (fiberglass) is most
commonly used. It's both inexpensive and easily obtained. An
alternative are the insulating peanuts used for shipping and packaging.
Others suggest filling the boxes with old newspapers. Newspapers would
work but the insulation value would be far less than the fiberglass
method. Also the newspaper would pick up moisture and become extremely
heavy to lift.
Whatever is used the boxes should be
completely filled, and then sealed and taped shut. You do not want
insulation mixing openly with food products. Also boxes of varied sizes
work best because they allow you to fill up the open spaces better.
If the freezer is only half full then
place the boxes either at the bottom of the freezer or all to one side.
This way you have easier access to the food during the winter. Placing
the boxes on top will be frustrating because you will have to remove
them every time you want to get to the food.
An alternative method is to add
containers of water to the freezer. Partially filled containers –
remember water expands about 10% when frozen.
This is not true freezer blocking.
Rather it is a method called heat sinking. Containers of water added to
the freezer will themselves freeze into blocks of ice. Every time the
freezer shuts off the cold stored inside the ice blocks will help keep
the food frozen. The ice should slow down the natural heat transfer
between the freezer walls and the food. The colder the freezer interior
the less the cold control will turn on the compressor.
Although heat sinking is good in
theory I am not convinced this method really saves money.
With freezer blocking the idea is to make the freezer operate less. The
less it operates the less electricity it will consume. How much can be
saved by these methods has not been properly tested. The best estimate
is that it could save you 5% to 15% per year.
But then, that’s a pretty good
saving for an hour of your time, and some cardboard boxes full of
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